tv Democracy Now LINKTV December 9, 2013 8:00am-9:01am PST
funding for this program was provided by... hendrick: communication skills are so important to a growing child. teacher: yeah. can you say hi in hungarian? oh, you're gonna say hi, wave your hand hi. hendrick: there's more and more evidence suggesting that having a good command of language goes hand-in-hand with the ability to imagine and to think up new ideas. teacher: what do you think would happen if you had pigs in your room? girl: i would kick them out. you would kick them out?
hello. i'm joanne hendrick, author of the whole child and your guide to this video series. in this program, we're going to look at not only traditional ways we can help our children learn language, but we'll also explore some interesting new ideas about laying foundations for later success in reading and writing. it's an area of study we call emergent literacy, and i think you'll find it fascinating and helpful. as always in this series, we'll observe children in a number of different programs-- head start, family day care homes, university schools, and private child care centers.
and we'll listen to their teachers as they describe some of the methods they use to enhance children's language and literacy development. teacher: no way. hendrick: the task of learning all the intricacies of language can be a daunting one, and it doesn't always go smoothly for our children or for us. [boy "counting"] 5. teacher: so, there are about 5? hendrick: as caregivers, we place such an important role in helping our children learn to be fluent, to communicate with others, and eventually, to read and write. teacher: use your words, adrian. tell lee, "those are my beans." beans. my beans. beans. woman, voice-over: i think it's a really wonderful way to help children express what they know in terms of experiences. if they go to the grocery store, then if we set up a grocery store for dramatic play,
it helps them role play. and i think it helps them to become aware more-- as they're able to act it out-- of what they've experienced. they were aware of it but not really that cognizant. but when they get into the role play themselves, then they have a greater picture of that experience. and it helps their language, i think it helps their interactions with other children. you have to learn how to negotiate, you have to, um, verbally as well as in your actions. and you have to be a creative person in that sense if you're going to be able to work with others and communicate with others. and i think it's just a valuable experience for them. hendrick: how can we help the children in our care develop their ability to talk, think, and express their ideas to the fullest? and not only that, how do we encourage them to listen to other people?
teacher: is that a train track? the pigs are playing with his toys. would you be upset if some pigs came in your room and were playing with your toys? do you think they would break them? what do you think would happen if you had pigs in your room? i would kick them out. you would kick them out? hendrick: we have 4 simple goals in this program: to understand and appreciate the relationship of speech and language to the thought process; to learn new ways we can help foster the development of language and thought in our children; to understand and appreciate the value of language differences among the children in our care; to learn how to foster emergent literacy skills as foundations for reading and writing. teacher: i need to look at your food. teacher: how does that taste? [smacking lips] it sure sounds good. hendrick: language is so much more than the memorization of grammatic rules or learning the abc's. teacher: you would like more?
girl: orange! orange, you're right, that's what it is. it's an orange. orange. more orange. more orange? do we have more orange? how about a cracker? cracker! cracker, ok. cracker. how about a cracker? one... hendrick: real language is also the give-and-take interaction that occurs when people actually try to reach out and communicate with each other to let others in on what we're thinking, what we're feeling, and what's on our minds. teacher: what is it? what do you see? what do you see? what do you see? [laughing] what do you see? listen at you, listen at you... you're giggling. you're giggling! evelyn... hendrick: did you notice the way this caregiver used very high pitch and then varied the range of pitch from high to low?
she also spoke slowly, distinctly, and she repeated words and phrases. this is so important because sometimes we forget that just because babies don't use formal language, that doesn't mean they don't understand exactly what we're saying. by using a special form of language, adults help babies learn that there is a sense of mutual trust and interest, that taking conversational turns is important, and that by pausing and paying attention to the other person, we can respond to what they're saying. teacher: hi! he has not eaten this morning. he was a good little boy... hendrick: don't underestimate their comprehension. children understand a lot of what's said long before they can reply in words. talking about babies right in front of them and assuming they don't understand conveys a sense of disrespect to them. you wouldn't treat adults or older children that way,
and we shouldn't do it to our infants, either. teacher: hi, cutie. hiya! we're constantly singing and talking and showing and exploring. that's a big word that we use in our room, is exploring. they are such little explorers, they're learning how to do so much. and, you know, a lot of people say that babies aren't talking, but they are. i mean, you can just see it every day. their singing, their cues, when they smile at you. i mean, to me, that is talking, that is their way of showing me that they're happy-- or even when they cry, obviously, they need something, and we'll change the situation to see what they need. boy: you know what? i'm gonna go to the zoo and i'm gonna see all the animals. you're gonna go to the zoo and see all the animals? what's your favorite animal at the zoo? at the zoo. can i come? what will we see there? you'll see lots of stuff in there. lots of stuff? like what kind of stuff? can't look. can't look? ha ha!
hendrick: i think the most vital thing to stress about language development is the value of conducting a true conversation with children. this means listening with sincere interest, responding in a way that will enhance and continue conversation, and allowing children time to formulate their ideas and answers. waiting for replies is one of the most important things we can do to encourage language growth. in other words, we need to slow down and take time to really listen to what our children have to say. teacher: his father said, "i'm afraid it won't come up." girl: he's watering it. do you think he's going to water it? let's see. hendrick: take a look at this classroom. what's the first thing you see the teacher doing to help move the learning process along? teacher: do you think it's gonna come up? [children talking] leah, you said yes. why do you think yes it will come up?
girl: because he pulled the weeds and watered. maybe the carrot said, "maybe those people don't know i'm going to come up." hendrick: how do you think this is helping her children learn to communicate not only with her, but with other children in the group? once again, one of the best things we can do for our children is to listen to them. and i mean really listen. i've seen a lot of teachers, especially those who are new and nervous, spend so much time talking-- or worse yet, answering their own questions-- that the children can hardly get a word in edgewise. let's look for opportunities to give our children something real to talk about. it's so easy for a child's attention to wander when we expect them to talk about something abstract or vague or something they've never experienced in real life. children's talk should be based on solid, real, lived-through experiences. teacher: well, cocoons, what are you doing over here?
child: this lives in the pond. are you at the pond now? yes, we're working on the pond. you're building a pond? yeah. what kind of things live at your pond? [children talking] hendrick: for example, asking children to discuss ways they could get water to the sandbox extends their problem-solving abilities while keeping the subject both real and relevant to them. what's more, they can make it even more real by trying out their ideas to see if they actually work. enhancing a child's language development doesn't mean that we have to be continually asking questions or even talking. we can encourage children to ask questions of each other and engage in interesting conversations among themselves. boy: no, you go to church first, then you go to chuck e cheese.
i'm not going to chuck e cheese, only to church. girl: where did you get that thing? teacher: can you tell us about it? see, i ran 4 miles. 4 miles? that is really far. so there was a lot of water in case we got thirsty. oh, good. so they had water. did you get to stop every once in a while? yeah, and get some water. but there were sprinklers every time and we got to ran through them. whoa! and then i--every time when we got water, i splashed it on me. i bet that felt really good. hendrick: encourage conversation and dialogue between teachers and children. there's so much more to language development than learning to name colors or objects on demand. the skills involved in discussion and conversation are vital, too, and we should give our children opportunities to practice these skills as well. ask open-ended questions-- questions that require more than a yes or no answer.
teacher: what did you get a trophy for? boy: i got it from bowling. bowling. the bowling party. hendrick: questions where the teacher doesn't already know the answer. teacher: how do you know you can get a gold medal from ice skating? hendrick: answering open-ended questions presents excellent opportunities for children to generate speech and develop language, because they're engaged in dialogue and sharing ideas rather than simply responding yes or no to a question. all: ♪ creepin' crawler ♪ right up to your chin, chin, chin ♪ ♪ open wide your little mouth ♪ but do not let them in, in, in ♪ [singing in spanish] ♪ give one great big clap [singing in spanish] ♪ place them on your lap, lap, lap ♪ hendrick: a few words about bilingualism:
there's no finer way to honor a child's ethnic or cultural background than by welcoming and encouraging her to use her native language or dialect at school. of course, sometimes this is easier said than done. in the real world, we're often torn in two directions on this question. on the one hand, we want to make the child feel welcome and facilitate the child's learning as best we can by using language she can understand. on the other hand, it is also true that the united states is an english-speaking country, and to get along in our society, children must be able to speak english and speak it well. but speaking english doesn't mean you have to give up speaking the other language. in today's world, speaking more than one language is an asset, and bilingual people are in demand and command good salaries, so it makes good sense to preserve this skill. boy: go to store. teacher: oh, you're telling me about the money that you might put in a little, teeny hole
to get something special at the grocery store. yeah. yeah. some food. some food. and some... i don't know english. and that's english. you're talking in english. you know how to talk in hungarian, don't you? yeah. yeah. can you say hi in hungarian? oh, you're going to say hi, wave your and hi. that says hi in hungarian or in english. even when we are not multilingual and don't speak the child's language, we can at least learn a few essential words and phrases, including and most especially the correct pronunciation of the child's and family's names. teacher: can you say imoja? children: imoja. uh-huh. "and i help light the colorful kwanza candles." do you remember when we talked about hanukkah? hendrick: the whole point of speaking and communicating with one another is to share,
to bring us closer together, to open up and include others in our world, and vice versa. teacher: can you say kwanza? all: kwanza. can you say swahili? all: swahili. swahili is an african language, and those are african words. teacher: ok, ms. anwati, are you ready? take over, let's go. one, two, three...go. ♪ kumbaya hendrick: the most important thing for children to learn about school is that it's a place where they feel warm and comfortable, a place they want to come back to. including songs and stories in the child's native language, using multiethnic pictures, and observing cultural customs not only honors the family by using the language and customs of the home at school, it also does much to foster the children's language and communication skills. ♪ kumbaya boy: hey, that's charlie's. teacher: where's charlie? this is charlie.
who's charlie? that is. who's that? that's charlie. is that you? uh-huh. oh, it is? wow. find your eyes. are they the same eyes? yep. wow. it looks like this is a big kid. it looks like that's a big kid? you are a big kid. hendrick: but speaking is only one form of communicating. reading and writing are also an essential part of the language process, and the preschool years play a vital role in laying the sound foundation of skills on which future literacy is built. perhaps now is a good time to talk in more detail about the need and value of a new area of preschool learning we call emergent literacy. emergent literacy means that in order to learn the arts of reading and writing, young children must first acquire many foundation concepts and strategies that will help literacy emerge. this foundation is just as important as the final strategies needed for actual reading and writing later on.
man: friends, what does our chart say up here? girl: helping hands. helping hands, and these are our jobs. what's our first job that we have this morning? children: leader! the leader. i need to pick a leader this morning. let's see whose turn it is this morning. boy: me. this friend right here. who is this? look at this name. it starts with an m-a-r-y. who is that? girl: m-a-r-y! mary's our leader today. what does sherrod start with, friends? children: "s!" "s." sherrody, will you do the calendar for us today? all right, what's our next job? girl: fish feeder! fish feeder, right. girl: yemisi! how do you know that's yemisi's name? because it starts with a "y." because yemisi starts with a "y." girl: and an "m!" teacher: can you read it to me? read it to me. hendrick: an emergent literacy program means setting up the environment and activities to inspire an appreciation for words, story telling,
and communication in all their forms. but while reading lots of wonderful books to our children is essential, there's much more to literacy besides books. man: shall we read it? let's read it. "when i grow up, my job will be "to go to school and to drink and eat. "i will sell money if i pay money. "if you go to the store, if you buy food. "i can play on the big swing if i pay money. "if you don't, you'll have to go to jail. it's at central park. we can eat on a picnic." all right. anything else? hendrick: we can also convey to our children how satisfying and useful the written word is throughout the entire day. we can do this by writing down children's stories at group time, taking their dictation as they paint, helping children dictate and decorate letters to each other or to their parents, or adding written materials such as signs, phone books, and menus to their pretend play. teacher: are you ready for to write down what you see? what did you see? a purple...
girl: cat! a purple cat? ok. it's going to say "kimmy..." boy: i'm going to play with chalk. teacher: ok, there's some chalk on the bottom. boy: i'm going to write my mom. teacher: you're going to write your mom? i'll write mom's name, and you can draw a picture for her. m-o-m. boy: that's mine. that's your mom. hendrick: they key point of emergent literacy learning isn't only that it's so interactive, but that it's so participatory. the children guide and help direct what they want to say, deciding with the teacher what's important to them, and what they want to talk about and describe. the message we want to communicate to the children is that learning isn't unpleasant work. it can have richly satisfying rewards. and it's an individualized, internal process,
not something that can simply be imposed or directed from the outside. that's why it's so important to provide our children with plenty of opportunities for experimentation with reading and writing. drawing, scribbling... pretending to read or repeating nursery rhymes without pressure from anyone to do it right or correctly. teacher: "life is but a dream." can you sing that again? ♪ row, row, row your boat ♪ ♪ gently down the stream ♪ ♪ merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ♪ ♪ life is but a dream yay! one of the most important things we can do to assist our children in their emerging literacy skills is to advise and encourage parents and family members to regularly read out loud to their children. center time is important, but the home is where so much of the real and lasting learning tes place. teacher: "went up to their bedrooms. papa bear looked in his bed--" and it's gonna sound good if you all help me in your great big papa bear voices--
let me hear you say, "someone has been sleeping in my bed." hendrick: let's review some of the key ideas we've discussed in this program. we've learned how we can foster children's language development by really listening to them and waiting for their replies. we can provide meaningful and real experiences for them to talk about. we can encourage conversation by using open-ended questions, as well as having children talk to each other, not just to their teachers. we can honor and encourage the expression of each child's native language and culture while teaching standard english at the same time. [singing in spanish] teacher: very good. give yourselves a hand. ok, hello song. get your hello hands ready. martine? hello hands ready? ♪ hello, hello, hello, how are you? ♪ ♪ i'm fine, i'm fine, i hope that you are, too ♪ [same song in spanish]
hendrick: and of course, we've talked about how we can encourage the development of emergent literacy in our children by... creating a classroom rich with printed words and materials; sharing the joy of reading; by using drawing, painting, and dictation to help give voice to our children's stories and experiences; and most importantly, we can encourage parents and family members to share the pleasure of reading out loud to their children every day. teacher: he likes to play in the block area, and zack is the... girl: square. square friend. what friend is this? tiara. this is tiara, tiara fuller. and where does tiara like to play?
the quiet area. you're right. she's hearing a story in the quiet area just like you like to do. and tiara is the...what? what friend? duck. she is the duck friend. hendrick: these suggestions for encouraging children's language are especially important when working with children who have special needs. sometimes i even show them. i put my hands, put their hands on my neck and i say, "feel that. that's a voice. that's sound," you know, "that's talking." and i have their little hand up there. and if you do it to yourself, you can feel the motion. and they begin to--i had one kid, at first he was so scared, and i kept saying, "see, i'm talking to you, i want you to talk back to me." i was trying to get him to say apple. and the vibration from up here, he could feel it, and every y--he would not say it for a long time-- he just let me put my hand, his hand up here...apple. every day, we review it and finally-- and i was so shocked, but consistency of effort-- he came out, he put his hand up here to his neck,
and he said "apple." great! yes! yes! that was my expression, you know, and my aide, and after that he started using his voice, and i also emphasized to him, i said, "you talked! you said apple. you talked. yes!" you know, like that, and he was like, "apple!" all day long. all day long. teacher: ...lasagna. zack, turn around so your friends can see. what did you pull out? know what that is? scarf. a scarf. where do you wear a scarf? when it's cold. you wear it when it's cold. hendrick: children with language delays and children who are hearing-impaired should be particularly included in group activities that stimulate and encourage verbal expression. the more experiences children with special needs have, where they engage in exchanges of ideas with their peers,
the more their language will be enhanced. our challenge is to make learning how to speak and communicate a personal and not a cookie-cutter experience. this means whenever possible, allowing each child in our care to develop their speech and language skills at their pace with the understanding that professional intervention may be necessary if certain developmental milestones are not reached. in the universe of the whole child, there are as many ways to learn as there are children to teach. i'm joanne hendrick. see you next time on the whole child. announcer: for young children, learning is a joy. each day brings new discoveries and opportunities. we can make the most of this enthusiasm with everyday materials and experiences. how to develop our children's growing minds, next time on the whole child. captioning performed by the national captioning institute, inc.
is this a credit card? hendrick: these children are having a wonderful time playing... ice cream cone. yep, i like ice cream cones. yes, but also learning-- learning how to think, to reason, to absorb ideas and process information, to recognize and solve problems. for the whole child, especially at this age, learning isn't work. it's a joy, a pleasure, and something to look forward to every day. woman: why does his nose go up and down? woman: where else have we seen tadpoles? child: there's grass in there. hendrick: this is especially true as more and more teachers combine
the more conventional and traditional styles of teaching with the new and creative learning techniques-- techniques that emerge when the educator teaches by collaboration rather than by instruction. woman: is it dark in there? hello. i'm joanne hendrick, author of the whole child and your guide to this video series. in this program, we're going to look at what we call cognitive development and what we can do to enhance our children's ability to think, reason, remember information, and solve problems.
we'll observe children in a number of different programs-- head start, family day-care homes, university schools, and private child-care centers-- and we'll listen to their teachers as they describe some of the methods they use to enhance their children's learning. what's in there? what is that? [bell jingling] what is it? what is it? is it a sponge? hendrick: the foundations of learning begin right here because children begin to learn right from the start. the most important thing i believe we can teach our children, no matter what their age, is that they are valued. hi. hi. hi, sweetie. oh, no! ♪ one wheel's off, and the axle's broken ♪ ♪ one wheel's off, the axle's broken ♪ ♪ one wheel's off, the axle's broken ♪ ♪ now we can't ride phillip, how can we fix it? with a, um, wrench.
how does a wrench work? show me. whoosh. can you guys do that? hendrick: unless children have this basic sense of self-worth, i believe it's unrealistic to expect them to open themselves to and embrace the challenge of learning and problem solving. the more traditional and conventional way to teach children is by providing lots of facts and information, often originating from books, work sheets, and flashcards. this is how we learned, how we were taught to recognize letters, numbers, and to find out how the world works. traditionally, these cognitive skills were then woven into themes selected by our teachers, who then conscientiously and carefully planned in advance everything they wanted us to learn. [children talking indistinctly] woman: do creepy-crawly bugs live at your pond? children: no. woman: no? are you sure? children: no. [children talking indistinctly] woman: for sure for sure? child: yeah.
woman: ok. i like what you're building. hendrick: but now, in more and more classrooms around the country, like this one, we're seeing teachers engaging in a much more interesting and interactive style of instruction often referred to as emergent learning. tadpoles. yes. one of my friends yesterday--eddie-- brought in some tadpoles, and he found these in a neighbor's pool. why do you think we just sang the speckled frog song? child: because there was tadpoles. woman: because there was tadpoles? second child: the tadpoles turn into frogs. because the tadpoles turn into frogs. good thinking. hendrick: in this more interactive and collaborative approach, the teacher and children seek out answers together. the teacher continues to make plans, but adjusts them as she pays attention to the children and finds out what is particularly interesting to them. she's also constantly looking for problems to present to the children so they can propose their own solutions-- their solutions, not hers.
woman: what about-- yes, natalie? child: i have tadpoles at home. if you want to see it alive, i'll be able to bring one to school. that would be great. hendrick: for example, perhaps the children are raising a baby rabbit. the teacher might ask them for ways they can make him comfortable and healthy. do they think he's lonely? what could we do about that? what could we use for a larger cage? the children's solutions to such problems will unfold gradually and often spontaneously in response to the teacher's questions. child: no. he's growing bigger. woman: why is he growing bigger? because he's eating. second child: look how big he is. third child: but funny bunny's more bigger than that. woman: he is big. and he's going to grow bigger. what are we going to have to do about the cage? we have to give him a bigger cage. how are we going to get him a bigger cage? go to the pet store and get him a bigger cage.
could we build one ourselves? yeah. what would we build it out of? we'll get a big-- as big as the whole world. a big box, and then we'll put it on the bottom, and then we'll make something strong here of lines. and a top roof. and then put some chips in there and funny bunny's food and his water. then put funny bunny in there. do you think he'd be happy in there? yeah. hendrick: sometimes, instead of just telling her their ideas, they can even show what they mean, perhaps drawing what they have in mind or helping to make a model of their idea. of course, it's all right to include more traditional approaches, too, such as finding out some facts about rabbits. you could even write the name as a label for the cage. i'm discovering the whole teacher is someone who combines both traditional and emergent approaches in order to present a truly balanced curriculum for the children.
one project that emerged in the classroom that i was in came about when i was observing two children sitting at the water table. and they had just recently found some toothbrushes over in the art area that had been set out, and they were playing with some plastic whales that were at the table. and so i walked over, and i sat down. i said, "what's going on?" this child, whose name was alex, said, "they're swimming and brushing their teeth," and he's showing me the whale. and so, you know, i had, in a sense, the classroom that was set and the environment was set up by the teachers. and so, in a sense, there was thoughtful planning put into what's going to be happening in the classroom, but at the same time, there's an openness about what the kids are interested in, what they're doing, that will allow you to focus in on their interests. at this point in time, i thought this was an interesting idea.
so i started asking them some questions about what's going on, what they're doing, so as to get a sense of what they're thinking about initially so that we could talk about what the other teachers in the classroom-- where to go from this point. child: i'm seeing all of the colors. you're seeing all of the colors in the ocean. see that? i see there. where? show me again. where? i see green and red. you see green and red? me, too. do you see brown? no. hendrick: of course, no matter which techniques you decide to use, inevitably you will encounter some parents or family members who think you aren't doing enough fast enough, who want to accelerate the pace of their child's cognitive learning. woman: oh, let's see. let's see. that sounds exciting. oh. [child speaks indistinctly] oh, there's a little ant right there. there's a whole bunch of them. i wonder if they're going home to their family?
be gentle. gentle. be gentle. that's right. they're going up. they're going up the tree. they're scared. wow. you think they're scared? what's scaring them, cosmo? i'm scaring them. oh, you scared them? how could you make them so they're not scared? hendrick: it's very important to keep the families informed about all the thinking skills the children are using in order to reassure them the children are really learning something. woman: i see one right here. find another one. woman: so if we made a bigger cage, we'd have to make something with cracks in it so he'd get air? child: yep. hendrick: for example, the teacher should point out how the children are learning mathematics by measuring the rabbit's growth and estimating how big a cage he's going to need. woman: so what would you make this cage out of-- the top part? child: um, metal. thin pieces of metal. i had a parent last year. i had had her child for two years,
and i would say, "come into the classroom," you know. and she said, "well, they just play all day, you know. why should i just come to see them play?" and i said, "well, you know, you should come in and actually see how they play. they take turns. they share. they're learning so many things just from being here." and she had a special-need child, and i say, "you know, she actually needs you to be here." and i said, "why don't you just try volunteering one day? "just come into the classroom and just put yourself in your child's place for one day." so i did get her to come in for a day, and we gave her a star for today, and we made a big issue out of it like, "nicole's mother came to school with her today," and last year, she volunteered nearly every day. you know, she was one of my, you know, best parents for volunteering.
woman: and we have a lot of pictures for you guys to see. second woman: oh, good. hendrick: let's encourage family members to visit our classrooms, to look at the experience boards, to read their newsletters, and to come to slide shows illustrating the children's adventures. these are all excellent ways to keep the family informed about how valuable this kind of learning can be. when a child's family is informed and pleased with what is happening, they often contribute suggestions of their own to further enrich their child's education. a key component to teaching in the emergent style is to listen to the children's questions and think of ways for them to seek out and discover their own answers. i think it's important to give children choices because it makes them decision-makers. they learn to make their own decisions. they decide what they want to do in the day's time. and i really-- i seriously believe when they grow older,
it stays with them, and they will always make decisions and not have to look to others to make decisions for them. woman: is it there? is it there, veledio? child: i'll try it. woman: boy, dante, that's a good job. you're spreading it all over. hendrick: just take a look at all the exploring and investigation and research that's taking place in this classroom. not only are these children figuring things out for themselves, they're also feeling good about themselves. child: one. woman: you added your one, so we need to pass this over to sidney. sidney, are you ready? woman: let's see what you can do with it now. boy, look at it. it's not powder anymore. what is it? hendrick: how do you think that works? what do you think the connection is between being successful at learning and feeling good about oneself? woman: ...here for sidney.
here's a piece over here for crystalline-- a very special piece. hendrick: once again, it all comes back to self-worth, the foundation of learning. we know from our own experiences growing up and even as adults, that no matter how old we are, there's nothing like mastery over a problem, challenge, or a difficult question. when we know what we're doing, we feel capable, confident, in control, and yes, even at this young age, empowered. and so i just started asking them some questions, and the first question i asked was, "do animals brush their own teeth?" and so we got into this discussion about how we take care of our teeth and how animals take care of their teeth, and it was interesting to hear his ideas about how animals do get their teeth taken care of 'cause he has his ideas about the dentist and about brushing his teeth, and some of it overlapped into the whale world,
where he is convinced that, you know, animals-- that whales get their teeth brushed, actually, by humans who go out and pull them up with a fishing pole. but here was an opportunity for me, then, to go to the other teachers in the classroom and say, "these are some of the things that alex was talking about. "he's talking about the dentist. "he's talking about how animals get their teeth taken care of. "he's talking about teeth. he's talking about all sorts of different things." this was a conversation that lasted maybe 15 minutes, and other kids were there and gave their ideas about the dentist also. they were having a discussion about-- one child thought that they drill your teeth if you have something in it, and the other disagreed and said, "well, they just make you hold something in your mouth for a few minutes, and then you spit it out." and so here's another opportunity, where they have different theories about what's going on in the world, that they can exchange some ideas, and maybe we can go have a concrete experience--
maybe going to the dentist or something or having someone come in-- to expand on their ideas, which is really important, in a sense-- which is different than a more traditional, conventional classroom, where you have a predetermined set of plans or lessons that you want to stick to. of course, children can't teach themselves everything and find their own solutions to all their problems. using the emergent approach does not mean letting the children do whatever they want. as teachers and parents, we're still the primary source of children's early education, and that's not going to change. it remains our responsibility to assess the children's ideas and plan ways to develop them. woman: what do you think it smells like? ooh, that smel like seaweed. hendrick: not all learning takes place in the classroom. what do you think is going on on this field trip that is helping make these children so receptive to learning new things? child: it smells nasty.
woman: it's nasty? woman: can you see them? what did that snake feel like when you touched him? look. he's going to crawl back under the water bowl, i think. hendrick: field trips like this one are excellent opportunities to learn because they encourage and stimulate the child's sense of wonder and curiosity. child: oh! it's a rock! woman: it's a rock. see? hendrick: one way to maximize the effectiveness of field trips like these is for us to emphasize hands-on experiences and not spend all our time simply telling and showing. woman: do you think they hide in the plants? hendrick: instead, allow plenty of time for the children to make their own observations and ask their own questions. it's a turtle. i know it's a turtle... hendrick: write these down and explore them later, when you return to school, and see for yourself how your curriculum and teaching plans emerge before your very eyes. child: right here.
woman: will he bite me if i touch him? child: yes. woman: yes. ouch. hendrick: of course, this doesn't only apply to out-of-class excursions. inside or outside the classroom, we should also leave time for the child's own view, questions, and interpretation of what he experiences. we took a walking field trip during the fall and walked through a nearby community. before we went, we talked about some of the things we would look for. we brought in a few things to give children a prior experience so they'd know what it was and went out on this walk. and they would point out different colors of leaves. they'd look for a squirrel. they looked for pumpkins-- that kind of thing-- and then the teachers took the pictures that they found. and when we came back, they were able-- we then used those pictures to make a book,
and they were able to give us the language to write the book because they had actually experienced it. we gave them a little bit of prior experience before we went, and then we went out into the field and took this trip. we looked at lots of things, took pictures, came back and talked about it, and they were able to give us the language to go along with the pictures for our own book. woman: 1. 2... hendrick: look at all the learning that's going on in this classroom. do you see how both teacher and child are actively engaged in learning together? woman: is that enough? child. no. how many more do you think we need? we need as many as we have to-- to do it. i need this. it's a big one. you're going to fill that up, too? yeah. i put this on top of here. put it on top? yeah. ok. be careful. hendrick: as interests emerge from that collaboration, the curriculum gradually takes shape.
but does this mean we should be disengaged or uninvolved in our children's learning? not at all. woman: now what are you going to do? [child responds indistinctly] whoa! hendrick: notice how this teacher isn't sitting on the sidelines waiting patiently for the children to do whatever they feel like doing. child: maybe like this. woman: let's see. i bet-- will it go around when it's in the cup? hendrick: the truly emergent curriculum requires, even demands, the attentive and active engagement of teachers to lend a sense of support, purpose, and, above all, direction down the pathway of children's learning. i use my classroom. i use the various learning areas. i use the colors, the posters, the prints, the art work, and i use them, you know-- "tell me what it is that you like," you know. and right now, power rangers are all the rage. i know the power rangers, ok? so we could start talking about power rangers, which leads into talking about colors, which leads into talking about respect and teamwork.
so it's--and each child is unique, you know. some still like the barbie dolls. i know barbie, you know. i was just at the historical museum the other day, so i picked up on a lot of new toys that we can talk about or extend on or, "did you know your mother used to play with this game?" so they usually give me what they need. they give it to--they let me know when they come in. "i like this. i like cake. i like pie. i don't want to come to school today because i'm bored." and my response is, "well, you know what? "the time to tell your parent "that you don't want to come to school "is when you get up in the morning, "because once you're in my classroom, you're mine. "and we're going to have fun today, so come on in here. let's go." woman: do you have to make the hole bigger or smaller to make your finger fit? child: make it bigger. second child: we can make this one bigger. hendrick: but where do we begin? how do we start teaching in this new and exciting emergent fashion?
there are many books on the subject, but here are a few of the basic ideas. first of all, it's important for us to understand how valuable it is for children to come up with their own ideas, figure out answers for themselves, and try a variety of their own solutions until they find one that works for them. woman: i think clare put something in there this morning. you found a little piece of a what? child: carrot. why do you think bunnies like carrots? 'cause they're really tasty. hendrick: besides paying attention to their questions, we need to ask them questions, too, and wait for their answers-- their answers, not ours. traditionally, we're used to asking our questions and expecting facts or information as the answer-- for example, "what did we talk about yesterday?" or, "which is the round one?" or, "i wonder who's wearing red socks today?" but the emergent approach requires that we ask questions
in ways that provoke children into thinking for themselves and which elicit an original idea or solution from the child-- for example, questions that begin, "how do you think we could...?" or, "what do you suppose would happen if...?" we call these kinds of questions open-ended questions because we can't anticipate or know what the answer will turn out to be, and often there's more than one "right" answer. woman: do you think these two parts go together? child: yes. what do you think those are parts of? turtle. uh-huh. a colorful turtle. it's a very colorful turtle. hendrick: once we ask our thought-provoking, open-ended question, it's so important to wait and listen to the children's own answers and listen with genuine respect for their ideas. notice how this teacher asks the child the question. woman: hmm. i'm noticing it's harder to roll. why do you think it's harder to roll that one? hendrick: as you can see,
this emergent approach to teaching requires more time, patience, and ingenuity than traditional information questions require. of course, no matter what kind of questions we ask or teaching style we use, and despite our best efforts, some of our children are simply not going to be able to learn at the rate we'd like them to. it happens in every classroom, and we must always notice these difficulties. it may be due to a hearing or vision problem. emotional disturbance is another possibility. child: yay! and developmental delays are yet another reason for learning slowly. when we speak about special-needs children and their cognitive development, we have to understand that there are stages that children go through. they learn one thing first and then the next thing, and sometimes children go through this process a little bit more slowly or a little bit more quickly, but the bottom line is the same for all children. you need to listen to them, see where they are, and take them there to the next step.
with children who are learning a little bit more slowly, you're going to have to break those steps into a little bit smaller pieces so that they can get it in a way to benefit themselves, but these stages are the same. hendrick: when children are not doing as well as expected and are struggling with learning, it's time to consult our colleagues and talk to the child's family about the possibility of seeking outside intervention or help. help is available, and the sooner such children obtain it, the sooner thecan begin to overcome their difficulties. child: look at what he's doing. he's taking a bath. he's taking a bath. hendrick: whether we combine both traditional and emergent approaches in our classrooms or prefer one over the other, our goal is to always respect children's developmental processes and try to inspire, enhance, and challenge their intellect without pressuring them to achieve skills beyond their reach.
the important thing to remember is that no one can teach a child how to learn. all we can do is build a safe and creative environment for learning, where questions are asked freely, answers are discovered openly, and each new problem is solved not only with knowledge and insight, but solved together. i'm joanne hendrick. see you next time on the whole child. not fit through it. no, no, no. they just--they-- if they don't have-- like, all--all pets don't have hands, so they use their whiskers to feel stuff that's hard, soft, or fragile. captioning performed by the national captioning institute, inc. they use their whiskers for two things-- to feel stuff that's hard or soft or feel stuff-- the sides.
welcome to another session of beliefs and believers. we're of course in the midst of talking about islam and asking islam to help us understand doctrine and ethics and social dimension. and in this class- i keep saying we have extraordinary classes, but indeed we do today- we're going to look at the